Links 5/5/18

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Dear patient readers,

I have an oddball request. Do any of you have meaningful experience in developing or reviewing scripts for automated phone surveys or phone prompt systems? I have an example I’d like to have someone knowledgeable evaluate. If you are game, please e-mail me at with “Phone script” in the subject line.

Kilauea: Fresh eruptions from Hawaii volcano BBC

Massive sinkhole in New Zealand exposes earth from 60,000 years ago Inhabitat. Shane: This piece was derived from one in The Mirror, but the Inhabit one has a longer, better video, which is worth watching.

Minnesota experiment upends notions about how plants will offset rising CO2 MinnPost (Chuck L)

Greenhouse gas ‘feedback loop’ discovered in freshwater lakes PhysOrg (David L)

Gmail’s ‘Self Destruct’ Feature Will Probably Be Used to Illegally Destroy Government Records Motherboard

Abbott Recalls 465,000 Pacemakers for Cybersecurity Patch RAPS

The ‘nocebo effect’: Is Googling your symptoms making them worse? CBC (Dr. Kevin)

Pharma’s broken business model – Part 2: Scraping the barrel in drug discovery LinkedIn (UserFriendly)

North Korea

North Korea synchronizes time zone with South DW

Trump Orders Pentagon to Consider Reducing U.S. Forces in South Korea New York Times (UserFriendly)


Both tweets rom AFXH. You have to read the first one in full (as in click through) to see how ridiculous this is…although if you’ve merely been to Morocco (as I have been), you’d know how ludicrous this is:

Britain thrilled with its shitty voting choices again Daily Mash. Gotta love this:

“One party offers a wretched Brexit mess overseen by obvious idiots. The other offers some good things but in a clueless, unconvincing way while sort of doing Brexit anyway. Excuse me if I don’t sprint to the polling station.”

Labour MPs could oust Tories and form a government in coalition with SNP if local election results were replicated in a general election, says BBC poll expert John Curtice Daily Mail

New Cold War

Media Use Disinformation To Accuse Russia Of Spreading Such Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

French Unions & Students Mobilize Against Reforms: Another May ’68? Real News


The U.S. Quietly Released Afghanistan’s “Biggest Drug Kingpin” From Prison. Did He Cut a Deal? Intercept (Dr. Kevin)

Trotskyist Delusions: Obsessed with Stalin, They See Betrayed Revolutions Everywhere Consortium News. The case study is Syria, hence why I slotted it here.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Cops Aren’t Just Submitting DNA Samples To Genealogy Services; They’re Also Obtaining Customer Info Techdirt (Chuck L). Quelle surprise!

A Criminal Gang Used a Drone Swarm To Obstruct an FBI Hostage Raid Defense One (David L)

Facebook or Google — which should worry us more? Financial Times. IMHO, savvier people accept that Google is part of the surveillance state and have resigned themselves to Google spying on them, while FB positions itself as being a friend of sorts.

Can We Be Saved From Facebook? Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone (OregonCharles)

Tariff Tantrum

China-US trade: a long-term battle of system versus system Asia Times

Reluctant Stakeholder: Why China’s Highly Strategic Brand of Revisionism is More Challenging Than Washington Thinks Marco Polo

Boycott China and avoid a trade war The Conversation

Trump Transistion

The Memo: Trump’s legal moves roil Washington The Hill. Trump’s MO is to gaslight people emotionally, and he has no attachment to the truth, which makes him the paradigmatic bullshitter.

Trump Is Said to Know of Stormy Daniels Payment Months Before He Denied It New York Times

Russian Troll Farm Goes After Mueller’s Files Daily Beast

Trump Turns to Outsiders, Not White House Staff, for Key Advice Wall Street Journal

FBI monitored phone calls of Trump’s personal lawyer WSWS

U.S. Probes Cohen Over Cash He Built Up During Campaign Wall Street Journal

Democrats target union workers who regret Trump vote Reuters. EM: “Without a candidate having a credible pro-labor message, good luck with that ‘targeting’. Sounds to me like the Dem establishment is once again taking the union vote for granted.”

They Voted for Obama, Then Went for Trump. Can Democrats Win Them Back? New York Times (UserFriendly). What the Dems refuse to get is part of Trump’s appeal is he is still, unabashedly, very much from the wrong side of the tracks. Even though Trump’s father had money, Trump (unlike Jamie Dimon) is still a guy from Queens, still a guy who loves gold and marble. For him to be acceptable to the Democrats, he was supposed to do all the Right Things to be upper class in America: hire a tasteful decorator, collect art, join the board of a top-drawer power-broking charity. Trump could care less. That is very attractive to working class voters.

I’m done with trying to understand Trump supporters. Why don’t they try to understand me?” McClatchy . UserFriendly: “​This is why Democrats will lose forever.​”

Mayo Clinic launches massive medical records overhaul Minnesota Public Radio News (Chuck L)

A Tidy Way To Smother Movements Shadowproof (UserFriendly)

The Fascist Right Is Bloodied and Soiled SplinterNews (UserFriendly)

Michigan says Flint water is safe to drink, but residents’ trust in government has corroded The Conversation

Kill Me Now

PR boss Jennifer Palmieri: ‘We reduced Hillary to a female facsimile of a male president’ Guardian. This was in Water Cooler, but is worth flagging for its “Help me” factor. Hillary has always been Hillary. Palmieri has become a oversized Hillary Mini-Me, including the more she says, the deeper she digs her hole. PlutoniumKun:

Ignore the stupid soft-soap article, read the BTL comments – they eviscerate the article and the subject. Shows the Guardians readers understand what the Guardian does not.

To Sue Goldman Sachs, You Have to Be Willing to Hang On—For a Long, Long Time Bloomberg. The pattern Chen-Oster describes, independent of the borderline assault, is widespread on Wall Street. Men poach on women’s business in a way they’d never dare to with other men, and the adminisphere stands pat. As a boss said when it happened to me,”It’s easier to steal someone else’s business than develop your own.” And no, he didn’t stop it from happening either.

Sorry Elon Musk, there’s no clear evidence Autopilot saves lives ars technica

Tesla’s Musk calls Wall Street snub ‘foolish’ but defends his behavior Reuters (Kevin W)

Class Warfare

US economy latest: Disappointing jobs growth and wages data reported for April Independent

Jobless Rate Looks Like Old Times, but the Economy Doesn’t New York Times

Jobs, Sliced and Diced Wolf Richter

The April jobs report reopens an old debate: how low can unemployment go? Vox (UserFriendly). Conveniently ignores low workforce participation, even among prime-age workers.

Air France-KLM boss quits as staff reject pay deal BBC

CMTV’s Jeff Epstein with Arnie Arnesen of WNHN radio, on FJG versus UBI Soundcloud. Based on this Jeff Epstein article: The Federal Job Guarantee Is Not Just “Better” Than a Universal Basic Income. It’s the Only Reasonable Option. Universal Basic Income Is Sinister

Hospital operator HCA spends big to keep nurses on board Reuters (EM). Nary a mention of the fact that the nurses’ unions are arguable the most effective in the US.

At PERA, Retirees Face Cuts While Wall Street Gets Millions David Sirota, Westword

Antidote du jour. Kittie Wilson, e-mailed April 20, via Lawrence, R, who also sent the note below:

It is with extraordinary sadness that I must tell you that Kittie Wilson, Our Precious Loon Lady, who had and an incredible zest for life passed away May 3. Kittie really enjoyed doing the weekly “All Things Pleasant”. What started out as a communication among a few friends on the Lake, turned into a weekly column about nature and what is good in the world eventually reaching thousands all over the world. She loved getting your feedback, both my email and in person. I had thirty unbelievable years of marital bliss with her.

There will be a memorial service followed by a Grand Reception, May 18. I hope that those of you
who don’t live in the UK or South Africa or some other far flung place might be able join us at this upbeat event.


Kittie’s beloved husband, John Wilson

* * *

Kittie Wilson, Our Precious Loon Lady

Kittie Wilson, Our Precious Loon Lady, died on May 3, with her loving husband by her side after putting up a very vigorous fight against a very aggressive cancer. A memorial service to celebrate Kittie’s zest for the world of nature and her exceptional ability to convey that to others will be held at the First Baptist Church in New London, Friday, May 18 at 2:00 PM. A grand reception will be held following the service at The Lake Sunapee Country Club.

Kittie was born July 7, 1949 in Bangor Maine to Patricia Duncan Moore and William Burnett Moore. She lived most of her life in New Hampshire. After graduating from Epsom High School, Kittie attended Plymouth State University where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and also her Master’s Degree in Education. She also received a teaching certificate for advanced studies in Gifted and Talented Education from the University of Connecticut.

Kittie spent her entire career of 31 years in the Kearsarge Regional School District, where she taught the third grade for fifteen years and then developed the well-known and respected Mindstretch Program which she taught in all of the district’s elementary schools for the next 16 years. In 1993, she received the Krista McAullife Award as the State’s best teacher which included a year’s sabbatical, a time which she used to teach and demonstrate the Mindstretch program at 85 different schools throughout the state.

Kittie had a passion for the outdoors and all things in nature. In retirement she worked very hard to maintain the quality and neighborliness of Pleasant Lake. This lead to her passion for protecting loons, a threatened species in New Hampshire. She became an avid and very talented photographer of nature, but particularly of loon and loon behavior. She received the Loon Preservation Committee’s Spirit of the Loon Award and the EPA’s Meritorious Lifetime Achievement Award for all of her endeavors to protect loons. She was a noted speaker about loon behavior throughout the state.

Kittie is survived by her loving husband John of 29 years, her brother Michael Moore and his family, her sister Karen Johnson and her family, her step-son Jeb Wilson and Aberfeldy and Macallan.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Loon Preservation Committee, PO Box 604, Moultonborough, NH 03254, but Kittie also loved flowers. There never were too many

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Colonel Smithers

    Further to the Brexit links, there was a diabolical discussion on the BBC’s Dateline London fifteen minutes ago. Le Monde’s London correspondent, Marc Roche, was rabbiting on about the UK’s military capability and how France values the relationship with the UK, so that will soon emerge in the discussions and the EU27 will split. Roche added that he was confident there would be an agreement, even if that meant selling out Ireland. I thought the whole programme was nuts, but that last bit may not be. One wonders what PK and others think and, should that sell out come to pass, how this will go down on the island of Ireland – and even the Baltic States and Poland.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve heard this meme a few times, that the EU will sell out Ireland. I don’t believe it will happen for a number of reasons:

      1. If there was any thought within Brussels or the major capitals of doing so, they’d be setting the ground for it, starting out by briefing Dublin to ease off. But on the contrary, each statement and action by Barnier does the opposite – he has visited Dublin several times, offering unequivocal support and even visited a Sinn Fein politician in Derry (in Northern Ireland). There is no way he would have done this if there was the possibility of a swift about face.

      2. Its not within the EU’s interest. This meme is motivated by the delusion within the UK that the EU needs Britain. It doesn’t. Britain is small beer next to the EU’s bigger strategic interests. Maintaining internal cohesion is the no.1 priority of the EU, and Merkel and Macron know that part of the quid pro quo of EU power politics is that the smaller core countries (such as Ireland, Portugal, Netherlands, Denmark, etc.) know that the major EU countries ‘have their backs’ in disputes such as this (yes, I remember about Greece, but that was a particular special case). The reason Switzerland, Iceland and Norway can get relatively favourable deals with the EU is that they are not a threat to any EU country economically or otherwise. A sudden betrayal of Ireland in favour of a ‘third country’ would be very destabilising. I can’t believe they’d be stupid enough to do it.

      If it did happen, I’m not sure what the implications would be politically. I don’t actually think there would be an anti-EU backlash, public anger would focus on the government for mishandling it. If the Irish public won’t blame the EU for austerity (astonishingly, they didn’t and still don’t), then they won’t blame the EU for even an overt stab in the back. The Irish instinct is always to blame Irish politicians first. This is another reason why the EU would be reluctant to do so – the current government is centre right and has good relationships with key power brokers in Germany and France. There would be a reluctance in those countries to generate a backlash that could lead to a more left wing government in Ireland.

      I would say that the Brexit behaviour has had an unexpected impact on the Irish public in that it has really undermined the more traditional pro-British elements within the Irish establishment. The establishment, including Varadkar and his ministers, have I think been genuinely personally shocked by the arrogance and hostility shown to them by London and the manner in which they have refused to rein in the DUP. The right wing media in Ireland don’t know what to think – the Irish editions of the UK newspapers carefully edit out the more overt anti-Irish messages that are pumped out, but people are still aware of it. Even more weirdly, Varadkar and FG have actually been getting on quite well with SF (to general astonishment). Its even raised the (small) possibility of a FG/SF coalition in the next government, although this is still the ‘possibility that shall not be uttered’ in the mainstream media here.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If food grown this way costs more time AND money to grow, such food will have to be sold for
      more money if the carbon-capturing farmers are to stay in bussiness to capture carbon; and keep staying in bussiness to keep capturing carbon. But if global de-warming minded foodbuyers are to be expected to pay higher prices to support carbon capturing by carbon-capture farmers, carbon-capture farmers will need a convincingly provable and provably convincing way to demonstrate that they are indeed capturing carbon in their soil beyond all measurable doubt.

      If they can do that ( and/or if certifying agencies can certify that they are doing that), then they can make ” support us to keep us in bussiness long enough to get some measurable carbon drawdowned from out of the air” a part of an acceptable case for charging higher prices for food than what the petrochemical corporate mainstream fuud growers are charging for their carbon skydumping fuud.

      ( And maybe we should start drawing a distinction between “food” and “fuud”).

  2. Emorej a Hong Kong

    Re: A Tidy Way To Smother Movements Shadowproof

    1,600 charges pressed against ~230 people over six windows…~218 of those originally charged didn’t do anything except walk past a broken window … theory that … defendants who didn’t break property intended to aid the 12 who did.

    Important and chilling, even without mentioning how easy it is, at a protest, for violence or window-breaking to be done by a person who is not part of the protesting group, and who may have been sent there by an opposing group, and/or by law enforcement, specifically for the purpose of discrediting the protest. This is an old tactic, which now points directly towards prosecution and potentially long prison terms for every protester.

    1. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

      Drone swarms:

      Your link reminds me that for anyone thinking of entering politics, there are not only the usual dirty tricks such as agents provocateurs, there are the added tresses which drones impose.

      As anyone in power is given to paranoia, the sudden appearance of a drone at any moment could send them to over the edge.

      Could drones be a bigger threat to democracy/anocracy than the internet?

      Pip Pip!

      1. Sid_finster

        Because trials are hella expensive and therefore hiring private criminal defense counsel is something that only the well off can realistically afford, a lot of those charged will be under pressure to simply plead guilty.

        This is another way that the constitutional projections afforded to criminal defendants only really protect the rich, and leave the rest of us worse off as a practical matter.

    2. Eureka Springs

      And it will never change, only get worse, as long as peeps allow police/state corruption of the sort you mention. Also one of many reasons I have contempt for anyone who ever uses the word democracy in a manner which implies we have it. I watched police in San Francisco do this very thing, arresting tens of thousands (iirc, the total was over 30k) on the night Desert Storm broke out. My only regret is that I didn’t copy and frame my citation.

    3. makedoanmend

      Journalist Sues Police over ‘Leftwing Extremist’ Claims

      “…Last September, police refused to approve his application to be an accredited reporter at the Labour party conference in Brighton, saying he had not passed the security checks that are required for the media…

      At the time, police refused to explain why he had been turned down. However they have been compelled to disclose their reasons after he filed a legal claim at the high court alleging that the refusal was unlawful. A hearing is due to be held on Wednesday.

      In their defence, police claimed that intelligence “established that Segalov was a known extreme activist who had taken part in demonstrations in relation to a wide range of issues.”

      According to police, this intelligence suggested that while he was not involved in criminality, Segalov was increasingly willing to engage in direct action.

      They claimed there was a risk that Segalov – whom they call a “known extreme leftwing (XLW) activist” – “might get involved in actions that would disrupt the conference”.”

      So a labour activist and protester is refused clearance to a Labour conference, whose Party Leader (Corbyn) has been a lifelong activist and protester, because he might disrupt said conference because he might become something more sinister than an activist and protester.

      Orwell no longer truly captures the contortions and convolutions of neoliberal Tory government:

      1. in their securocratic utopia you are guilty until you prove that you will not do something that you have never done before – catch 22 writ large
      2. the acronym shows that everyone who is not part of the meritocracy and acquiescent to the new narrative will be given a label and treated accordingly

      I have some faith in the UK’s judiciary to call this charade for what it is. However, does it now behove every individual who is not a part or accepted by the securostate to prove their innocence before engaging in certain acitivities? – a costly and soul sapping enterprise.

      One would be forgiven for believing that Tories actually spend time and effort to produce these anti-democratic wheezes.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Kinda reminds me of the episode from 2005 when Walter Wolfgang, an 82-year-old Jewish refugee from the Nazis, was physically ejected from the Labour Party conference hall and refused readmission under the prevention of terrorism act. His terrorist crime? He shouted the word ‘Nonsense!’ when Jack Straw claimed that the UK was in Iraq to help the elected Iraqi government build a secure, democratic and stable nation. Below is a clip to this story but the point is that the Labour party has form here-

    4. JBird

      This is a routine practice.

      I have been following the Waco Biker Shootings ever since it happened in 2015 and now in 2018 they say that only 25 of the 177 arrested and charged will actually be tried. One person already has been tried and was acquitted.

      One idiot biker shot one a member of the other gang at a restaurant meeting and police snipers probably caused most or all of the nine dead and twenty wounded by shooting into the entire outdoor crowd in response.

      Three years (so far). 177 arrests. 150 plus indicted. 150 dismissals. One acquittal. Twenty-five or so actual trials to proceed.

    5. The Rev Kev

      Now if they really want to push it they can. The trouble is that when you try radical law interpretation like this you are liable to run into the law of unintended consequences. Let’s try a general principle. Under the 1949 4th Geneva Conventions, collective punishment is a war crime – Article 33 to be specific – and the Additional Protocol II of 1977 explicitly forbid collective punishment. Isn’t this what the police are doing? What happens if a smart lawyer turns it around and when a policeman kills a protestor, all the police on duty at the protest are charged as being accessories to murder? Charging a whole bunch of people for the actions of a few that for all we know were done by police infiltrators themselves? Great racket that. Good to know that it will never backfire in any way.

  3. UserFriendly

    Russian Troll Farm Goes After Mueller’s Files Daily Beast

    Lawyers for the company accused of funding Russia’s election interference trolls are demanding that special counsel Robert Mueller turn over reams of information, including the identities of informants, details of any electronic surveillance, and a list of “each and every instance” since 1945 in which the U.S. “engaged in operations to interfere with elections and political processes in any foreign country.”

    HAHAHA I can’t wait for this to come out in court.

    The term “political technologist” (политтехнолог) first appeared in the Russian press in 1996, to describe Boris Yeltsin’s team of American and Russian political spin doctors who stage-managed his campaign to steal the Russian presidential elections that year.

    The political technologists were given a seemingly-impossible task: make Yeltsin’s pre-ordained election victory look just plausible enough to be hailed by the West as a triumph for democracy, while domestically, imposing on Russians a sense of overwhelming fatalism so complete that they wouldn’t rise up again in arms as they had in 1993.

    The reason this looked near-impossible on paper was that Yeltsin went into the election campaign with a rating hovering between 3%-5%, reflecting what must be the single most disastrous presidency of the 20th century: Under Yeltsin, Russia’s economy collapsed some 60%, the male life expectancy plummeted from 68 years to 56, millions were reduced to living on subsistence farming for the first time since Stalin as wages went unpaid for years at a time. Russia was on its way to going extinct—but about 3-5% of the population (plus or minus 3%) was making out like bandits. Probably because they actually were bandits.

    Enter the “political technologists”—Americans led by Dick Morris’ former partner Richard Dresner, and Russians at advertising behemoth Video International, led by Mikhail Lesin and former KGB spy Mikhail Margelov — who took credit for pulling off a credible stolen election for Boris Yeltsin. Time magazine wound up crediting the Americans with “Rescuing Boris,” which was turned into a B-movie, “Spinning Boris,” directed by “Turner & Hootch”‘s Roger Spottiswoode.

    The way Dresner and the Americans told it, it was the Americans who first introduced focus groups into the campaign; who invented fake pro-Yeltsin crowds at rallies, rustled out of government-owned factories and coerced into attending pro-democracy Yeltsin rallies; and it was good ol’ USA advisers who took credit for convincing Team Yeltsin to take total control over the Russian media and convert the only cultural unifying medium into a kind of virtual reality apparatus, deployed to brainwash the public into fearing a victory by Yeltsin’s opponent—the cowardly, dumb-as-nails Communist Party leader, Gennady Zyuganov—who, if Russia’s 1996 TV media onslaught was to be believed, would plunge the country into a bloody civil war, leading to GULAGs, cattle wagons, and family members hanging from lamp posts. Every fantastical historical nightmare was exploited and exaggerated to frighten the public into a different mindset, and a totally distorted grasp of reality.

    This required taking full control of Russia’s television networks, radio, and media, which until 1996 had been relatively free and chaotic in editorial interests. Key to this was how Yeltsin co-opted the once-independent national network NTV, owned by oligarch Vladimir Gusinsky, which had been a fierce critic of Yeltsin’s slaughter in Chechnya. That problem was solved by Yeltsin promising to give Gusinsky valuable banking and national TV licenses and other properities; Gusinsky agreed, and he put NTV at Yeltsin’s service, and seconded NTV’s top executive to lead Yeltsin’s TV campaign coverage.

    As Dresner had advised it in a memo to the Yeltsin Team:

    “It was ludicrous to control the two major nationwide television stations and not have them bend to your will.” “…Wherever an event is held, care should be taken to notify the state-run TV and radio stations to explain directly the event’s significance and how we want it covered.” In the end, Yeltsin won by old school fraud — in Chechnya, for example, where Yeltsin’s war had killed 40,000 people and displaced half the population, elections showed 1,000,000 Chechens voted (even though less than half a million adults remained in Chechnya at the time of voting), and that 70% of them voted for Yeltsin, their exterminator. That helped deliver the numbers that the West needed to see—enough for the New York Times to declare it “A Victory for Russian Democracy”—parroting the laughably cheerful assessment of President Clinton and his team.

  4. Kevin C Smith

    Having used his family as an excuse for shushing Stormy with 130k, can we hope that [maybe, please God] Trump will abdicate … to protect Dear Little Barron™ … from the indignity of seeing his dad dragged though impeachment hearings?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Hope your hope, Kevin, whatever it may actually be. Trump abdicates, in comes Pence, and then what portends for whatever goodness of thought and hope for change might be in your real heart of hearts?

      One has to marvel at the stuff that appears in all the spaces of discourse in our wheels-falling-off political economy. “The only way out is down,” we learn, from many voices…

      But hey, VICTORY over Trump can be declared and bruited to the skies!

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s always been personal in politics.

      So, it’s not surprising that, for those unhappy or happy with Trump, it’s personal.

      And as absurd as the use of one number for inflation, one number for the GDP, one number of unemployment, etc, there is one number of the state of the country, which is, too simplistically, the sum total of all the happiness and unhappiness of each voter, added up, or in this specific case, the the sum total of the number of people praying for abdication and the number of those not.

      Then, we’d have a number, an index, for the media to talk about, or for us to plug into an equation.

  5. Quanka

    That Minny Post article on carbon dioxide is huge to understanding how grasses are going to save our a$$es. Well, not really but it was a good line so I had to use it.

    The average scoop of (healthy) soil has over a billion organisms in it. Our scientific understanding of the microbes in the soil and their roles in regulating habitat and climate above ground are vastly underappreciated. Note that the scientists in the article don’t even know what this means for climate change (I respect their honesty in that regard). As a soil and grass man I just started hearing about these different types of plants (c3s vs. c4s) recently.

    1. JTMcPhee

      A wall poster I picked up in the Hippie Days: The image is that of the beautiful blue planet spinning in the blackness of space, a photograph from I believe it was Apollo 11. In the upper right, appears the Hand of God from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, pointing to Earth. The speech balloon floats above it, tailed out to the upper right to indicate it is the Voice of the Almighty, who says, “Hear me, humans! You have fifteen minutes to vacate! I have lined up a much better tenant!”

      Calling Elon Musk, where are your rocket ships, Rocket Man?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Elon is preparing to vaporize Tesla short sellers with his massive rocket boosters:

        Elon Musk

        Oh and uh short burn of the century comin soon. Flamethrowers should arrive just in time.


        Elon Musk

        Looks like sooner than expected. The sheer magnitude of short carnage will be unreal. If you’re short, I suggest tiptoeing quietly to the exit …

        8:09 PM – May 4, 2018

        This is industrial-strength flakery [not to mention stock manipulation] from a guy with his back to the wall, lashing out with any deranged b.s. that pops into his mottled mind. The end is nigh!

          1. Jim Haygood

            Companies have to be careful about forward looking statements. The CEO can say that earnings prospects look favorable, if that’s the case. But forecasting a higher stock price to burn the shorts is an absolute no-no. Wait, there’s more:

            Just weeks before Elon Musk held his fractious conference call with Wall Street analysts, he hung up on Washington’s top transportation accident investigator.

            Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, called the feisty builder of new-age cars and rockets on April 11 to tell him that blog posts by Tesla casting blame on the driver of a Model X for a fatal crash had gone too far. The NTSB had earlier warned Tesla not to make statements about the accident while it was being investigated by the board.

            Sumwalt then said he was taking the unusual step of kicking the company’s representatives off the investigation.

            “Best I remember, he hung up on us,” Sumwalt told attendees of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators’ Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter dinner Thursday. It was his first public comment on the exchange.


            Next [my projection]: Musk hangs up on the SEC when they confront him on his patently false claim that Tesla won’t need any financing this year.

  6. allan

    Re: Mayo Clinic launches massive medical records overhaul

    Our dominant local healthcare industrial complex entity recently merged two EPIC-supplied systems,
    one for EHR and one for billing, which it had been using independently for some time.
    Based on an exhaustive study (N=1), it is not going well.
    Long established patient-provider arrangements and negotiated prices have evaporated into the ether.
    It might be a long summer.

  7. BillK

    Re Gmail’s ‘Self-Destruct’ feature and Google & Facebook surveillance –

    Surely Government don’t use Gmail for confidential mail? That’s really, really stupid.

    And as everyone should know, just because you delete something on Google or Facebook, that doesn’t mean it is actually deleted. It just means you don’t see it any more. They still keep a copy to use in their own systems.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Non Google users can run their email through Google’s (very efficient and reliable) servers by changing their MX records to Google’s. I would not be surprised if the US government did this as well.

    2. MichaelSF

      I retired in 2005 but at that time the large Federal agency I worked for had our own email (exchange) servers for the agency .gov addresses. I have no idea what they are doing now but I’d be somewhat surprised if the email servers have been moved to commercial servers as that would seem like a massive violation of the Privacy Act what with all the beneficiary information that existed in the email system.

      1. JCC

        NMCI, the Navy Marine Corps Intranet system (all email included, i.e., is contracted out to the Prime Contractor – HP – and subcontractors have included, among others, Apple Inc., Cisco, Dell, McAfee, Microsoft, Oracle Corporation, Symantec, and Verizon since 2000. A subset of these companies handles classified email, too, and none of these companies are noted for their fight against Govt Law Enforcement when it comes to privacy issues with the possible exception of Apple in some cases.

        If this was a violation of the Privacy act, something probably would have been done about it by now.


  8. begob

    The nocebo article is based on statin intolerance. Perhaps they should factor in the front page of the UK’s Daily Express, which is regularly hired out for promotional purposes: “Statins For Everyone Over 60!”

    1. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

      Statins for everybody over sixty:

      It is as if I shall be immortal if I start comsuming statins. If it is true: watch out world – because I am bent on benign dictatorship.

      I’m hearing that if you don’t die of this or that, the big ‘C’ is gonna get you in the end. Are statins good for that?

      Pip pip!

      (nb failed cermudgeon of 62 years)

  9. JohnnyGL

    From Palmieri article, on whether Clinton might run again….

    “Oh no. No, I would do an ankle-dive for that woman before I would let her go through that again. I could not let her go through that hell again.” She shudders. “Terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible.”

    So….you’re saying there’s a chance?!?!

    I actually want Clinton to run, so she can raise another $1bn and put up Jebbie numbers in primaries.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I agree, Johnny. And I want to see her set an even bigger pile of money on fire.

    2. pretzelattack

      loved this question posed in comments to the guardian staff:
      “Anyway how many more of these crap books are you going to bother reviewing?”
      there have been several, all pushing the same theme of a supremely competent competent being unjustly deprived of her rightful due by crazed millenials, and, of course, putin.

    3. Big River Bandido

      The Guardian article was crap. The comments, though? They are gold. I only read the first page of comments, but every single one was a glorious takedown.

    4. hamstak

      Just a WAT (wild-[family-blogg]ed theory), but I suspect Hillary knows the window is closed on her personal presidential ambitions and has resigned herself to being queen-maker. If she and whatever protégé she selects are successful, the reward might be a cherry position within the administration — say, Chief of Staff?

      Then again, she might be more delusional than can be imagined, or has decided to divide her remaining energies between assigning blame for her loss across the broadest swathe of perceived enemies possible, and continuing to assist all the wee unfortunates of the world through the eminently philanthropic Clinton Foundation.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        One option is to be Trump’s VP, so when he is impeached, she becomes the new empress.

      1. begob

        When one has to bend over and take it from behind. And it’s equal opportunity. Either that, or it’s a sports tackle that puts the tackler at maximum risk for maximum effect.

        1. roxy

          Thanks. I looked it up and got responses for diving equipment. That’s an odd thing for her to say, rather, oh I don’t know, indecorous?

      2. Matt

        I”m reminded of that scene in Downfall where Magda Goebbels pleads to Hitler.

        “Mein Fuhrer, life can’t go on after National Socialism!”

    5. Sid_finster

      Unfortunately, the Graun disables comments whenever it seems that the peanut gallery isn’t going to respond like on online Amen Corner.

  10. semiconscious

    re: ‘criminal gang used drone swarm to obstruct an fbi hostage raid’

    AUVSI Xponential conference: where rejected high-tech thriller movie scripts go to die? i mean, seriously?:

    Last winter, on the outskirts of a large U.S. city, an FBI hostage rescue team set up an elevated observation post to assess an unfolding situation. Soon they heard the buzz of small drones — and then the tiny aircraft were all around them, swooping past in a series of “high-speed low passes at the agents in the observation post to flush them,” the head of the agency’s operational technology law unit told attendees of the AUVSI Xponential conference here. Result: “We were then blind,” said Joe Mazel, meaning the group lost situational awareness of the target. “It definitely presented some challenges.”

    The incident remains “law enforcement-sensitive,” Mazel said Wednesday, declining to say just where or when it took place. But it shows how criminal groups are using small drones for increasingly elaborate crimes.

    Mazel said the suspects had backpacked the drones to the area in anticipation of the FBI’s arrival. Not only did they buzz the hostage rescue team, they also kept a continuous eye on the agents, feeding video to the group’s other members via YouTube. “They had people fly their own drones up and put the footage to YouTube so that the guys who had cellular access could go to the YouTube site and pull down the video,” he said.

    smh. where to begin. all that’s missing is the ominous presence of ‘mastermind’ john malkovich :) …

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Can we at least use the idea to stop school shooters?

      Instead of years of uncertain struggle to ban guns, we can work on that now. Or maybe it’s already available.

      “A swarm of instantly-anesthetizing stinging drones, capable of kamikaze-ing into the shooter’s face (or neck or body, even penetrating the toughest clothes), to quickly knock him, or her, unconscious.”

      1. JTMcPhee

        Why stop with anaesthetizing? Why not Slaughterbots ™?

        And if these get used in save=the-children “school shootings” (one wonders how the swarm would be released, and then figure out who the shooter was, and differentiate the amok shooter from the cops, but that’s all just piffles to be worked out in proof of concept, right?) why not put these disrupters to work in so many other unpleasant situations? Cops, for example, could loose them on losers, left, right and center, at uncomfortable-to-our-Rulers mass protest gagtherings where mopes “assemble to petition for redress of grievances” and stuff…

        Lots of good paying middle class jobs in developing these devices and their applications, not to mention field maintenance and all that. Unless, of course, the development and construction were outsourced to maybe China?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Anesthetize, because the aim is to stop the shooter .

          It would take a jury’s verdict to execute on-the-spot-slaughters of shooting suspects.

          A swarm can first distract and possibly stop shooting.

          A few observing drones can allow the situation-center commanders decide whether they have acquired the likely target or not.

          1. Procopius

            It would take a jury’s verdict to execute on-the-spot-slaughters of shooting suspects.

            Hahahahahahaha. You make the comedy.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I also believe the technology is also available for a kamikaze drone to aim straight for the muzzle of a gun, in order to clog it up.

          The precision required is no more than that for an intercepting missile tracking another missile, or a missile tracking a jet fighter.

          And the clogging up is an old concept, like sinking a few ships at the mouth of a harbor.

      2. Kurtismayfield

        Can we at least use the idea to stop school shooters?

        Nope. At this point, I am thinking that there never will be an end to school shootings. Anything that feeds the surveillance police state is a good thing, so there will be no stop to it.

        Plus it helps local news to ratchet up the constant “middle-class anxiety” programming. Take a look at your local news program, and ask yourself if the angle taken on this story is solely to get the middle-class worried.

    2. ewmayer

      Got bird netting? $25 for a 25′ x 50′ rectangle would make a pretty good anti-drone defense.

  11. JohnnyGL

    If Jennifer Palmieri could turn back the clock, and make one change to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, what would it be? I can guess any number of answers when I put the question to the campaign’s communications director, but not the one she gives.

    “I would have spent more time and money,” she replies without hesitation, “in Texas, Arizona and Georgia.”

    Palmieri’s explanation makes perfect sense. She says they made the classic mistake of devoting their energy to the swing states of previous elections, such as Ohio, while overlooking historically safe Republican states now becoming winnable due to shifting demographics. It’s a clever answer – analytic, pragmatic, strategic; everything, in other words, we associate the Clinton campaign.

    I find it hard to fathom the lac of understanding that is wrapped up in the statements from both Palmieri and from the author, Decca Aitkenhead. The author may have a point about the idea being clever, but this kind of thing is tactical minutiae. Strategic flaws aren’t even in the coversation.

    As Thomas Frank has pointed out, the campaign had no answer to the basic question of “Why is she running?” from her book. He mentions that she went on to say that she thought she’d be good at the job.

    She only got 48% of the popular vote (I know Dems love to defend her performance with her popular vote numbers, so let’s combat this head-on). That’s not a winning % going all the way back to Al Gore’s loss in 2000. Of course, her husband got re-elected in 1996 with 49%, off even lower turnout, so maybe this is just a Clinton thing?

    Anyway, the absurd focus on being tactically savvy and missing strategic blunders (like having no message and no vision for the country) continues to amaze me.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Wow, this gets worse….

      And when I ask if it felt as if she had been fighting an electoral genius, snaps: “No, I refuse to believe that that guy is a genius. I have never believed, and refuse to believe, that there’s a big genius strategy behind him.” She suspects Moscow’s influence in the election extended as far as hacking into polling stations. “People tell me that it is not technologically possible, but I don’t know, I’m not convinced. I’m still uneasy about it.”

      This makes me think Glenn Greenwald’s emphasis on psychological and emotional explanations for Trump Derangement Syndrome are more accurate than I’d thought. Palmieri clearly can’t handle this stuff.

      People like Palmieri are stuck with either A) being really horrible at what they spent their whole careers doing or B) racism, sexism, putin hacked everything.

      B) looks awfully appealing up against admitting your life’s work is a complete failure.

      1. jsn

        Yes, A is tough to swallow. The guy who wrote the macropollo China piece is of the same ilk going on about how Atlanticist Liberalism needs to out compete China in Asia, oblivious to the fact Atlanticist Liberalim has completely rotted out the foundations of its own power base. So smart and yet stupid.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Ultimately Hillary was sunk by the character issue — she is not trusted. Her long-ago boss on the Watergate impeachment inquiry, Jerry Zeifman, said that during the investigation Hillary Clinton had “…engaged in a variety of self-serving, unethical practices in violation of House rules.”

      Forty years on, Hillary was squirreling away State Dept emails on a private server — messages which she would never turned over but for their discovery by Guccifer. Same old, same old, in other words — “unethical, self-serving practices.” Putin responds:

      1. Procopius

        … but for their discovery by Guccifer.

        ??? What emails are you talking about? Guccifer never had any emails from Hillary’s server. In fact there has never been a plausible claim that Hillary’s server was ever hacked, unlike the State Department’s. I’d have to look it up, but my memory is he only had the Podesta emails, which were probably gotten by phishing. We still don’t know who delivered the DNC emails to Wikileaks, but I do not for a moment trust the “forensic” report the DNC bought from Crowdstrike, an openly anti-Russian enterprise.

    3. YankeeFrank

      My fave comment from the article:

      Stillgrizzly 23h ago

      So, if both candidates were women, neither of them would win?

      1. pretzelattack

        damn, i wish the guardian would reopen comments just to get more like this one. but that’s their pattern when one of their propaganda attempts fails to evoke the response they were looking for.

        1. YankeeFrank

          And how it failed. Every single comment pointed out the obvious: Hilldawg lost because of Hilldawg. This oh-so-obvious fact will be denied until it is pried from their cold, dead fingers.

      2. cm

        It warms the heart to recall the support Sarah Palin got from leftist womyn when she ran for VP.

    4. oliverks

      I don’t think Trump won the 2016 election. Rather Hillary lost. Her loss can really be put down to spectacular incompetence. She is poor at tactics, and even worse at strategy.

      1. makedoanmend

        I can confirm President Trump won the 2016 Presidential – hence why we call him president in 2018. And, yes, Hillary Clinton lost as did a few other presidential contenders.

        I think everything else at this stage is just political wonkery. (nearly wrote the last word wrong.)

        A $billion spent on wrong tactics and ultimately a strategy is deplorable.

        If she spends $2 billion next time, will she be twice as deplorable?

        (sorry, not being sarcy about your comment but more saucy)

    1. JohnnyGL

      That was a pretty fun read. I’ll add a couple of comments.

      Firstly, right off the bat, he makes a reference to the US’s in ability to beat the Taliban, who are armed only with small arms. That’s technically true, but a bit misleading. A better summary would be “the Taliban has been able to implement a policy of area-denial to occupying US forces that are unwilling to commit the (ballpark) 500k troops that are probably necessary to do a genuine occupation without successfully and adroitly making deals with local power brokers (something else US govt hasn’t done).”

      I had to laugh at this….

      Somalia is basically in perpetual war, Syria is a hot mess with no signs of mitigation any time soon, Iraq is sketchy, Afghanistan has been in some flavor of civil war or occupation my entire life outside the salad days of the Taliban, and Libya is in such deep throes of anarchy that they’ve reinvented the African slave trade. Venezuela. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be a qualifying event depending on how you define it. And again, Africa is … hard to even conceive of where to start.

      Because the US Govt has play a strong role in literally ALL of these examples!!!

      I think it’s also worth pointing out there’s some very self-interested actors pushing for gun-control for their own nefarious reasons.

      1) As the article points out, oligarchs that are afraid of average citizens often seem to be vocal advocates for gun control.

      2) Police unions in states like NY and MA have long pushed hard for gun restrictions. In fact, showing how powerful (and bold) they really are, police unions in MA have recently made a push for the death-penalty in cases of cops being killed. They’ve got some big name pols on board, too. Yikes! Really?!?!? Bringing back the death penalty?!?!

      1. John k

        Oligarchs for gun control… great! I’m for it to. All it takes is the bucks to outbid the NRA in Congress.

        1. polecat

          I seem to remember a Frank Zappa quote about something regarding a theater, a brick wall, and a curtain retracted ….
          But go ahead .. trust your betters, as I’m quite sure things will work out just fine ….. for THEM !

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Reluctant Stakeholder: Why China’s Highly Strategic Brand of Revisionism is More Challenging Than Washington Thinks”

    Interesting article that. I think, however, that I can provide a better summary. Since the 1990s, we have been living in a unipolar world based around Washington but that was never a permanent thing but in fact an aberration of history. With the rise of China and the reformation of Russia, history is once again exerting its force to bring the world back to its natural state – a multipolar world.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One particular grievance for the Chinese (and the Russians), I assume, is the unfortunate fact of the US abusing the global reserve currency status to run a Special Theory on Modern Money (or Modern Money Special Theory – that is, MMT on military spending).

      “The Yanks can always buy more cruise missiles, no budgetary constraints.”

      1. Olga

        I may be imagining things, but would bet that what spooked C/R is that little perpetual-war-and-destruction sideshow… No way to run a world… lest we all implode.
        I agree that the article is quite informative. It should be supplemented by this interesting talk by Kishore Mahbubani, Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore (gotta love his soft, almost grandfatherly delivery of some pretty brutal facts!).

  13. Jim Haygood

    Thanks to yesterday’s drop in the unemployment rate to an 18-year low of 3.9%, the Urate is more than 4 percent below its 12-month moving average (MA12). Chart:

    According to bond king Jeffrey Gundlach who developed the indicator, when the Urate rises above its MA12, a recession warning is given.

    Earlier this week, John Mauldin hung out with some Wall Street worthies, whose consensus opinion was that the next recession arrives in late 2019. Since it would take at least several months for the Urate indicator to exceed its 12MA, a recession in late 2019 is not inconsistent with the indicator.

    For now the economy is trucking along okay, a message confirmed by Ed Yardeni’s fundamental indicator which has been flatlined since March 1st at a high level, but is not declining.

  14. Jim Haygood

    In its 26 months since inception here in March 2016, Craazymon Fund has returned a cumulative 29.7%, versus a 20.7% gain in its 50-50 benchmark (S&P 500 stocks & Bloomberg Aggregate bonds). Chart:

    On a 12-month lookback, Craazymon Fund beat its benchmark by two percentage points, returning 9.2% vs a 7.2% gain the benchmark. Chart:

    A sharp pop in the US dollar since mid-April has been a headwind for Craazymon Fund. Both its emerging market stocks (30% of the portfolio) and its gold bullion (20% of the portfolio) benefit from dollar weakness.

    On the bond side, the underlying model still favors junk bonds (50% of the portfolio) over Treasuries. In the event of a recession, Treasuries likely would start outperforming junk.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Stormy Daniels

    In interviews on Wednesday and Thursday, Mr. Giuliani insisted that the president had reimbursed Mr. Cohen for the $130,000 hush payment — and then paid him another $330,000, if not more — which was in direct conflict with the longstanding assertion by Mr. Trump and the White House that he did not know about the hush money or where it came from


    1. Is Trump saying he did not know about the hush money in Nov. 2016? That is,he knew later, but he did not know about it 19 months ago? That would not be in direct conflict.

    2. The money came from Cohen. There are two money exchanges here.

    A. The money Cohen gave to Daniels (in Nov. 2016)

    B. The money Trump gave to Cohen (some time later)

    Where did Cohen get the money to give to Daniels, when he gave her that money? From a bank loan? From under his mattress? Did Trump know of the source of the Nov. 2016 money (from a bank loan?), when he made that statement that he did not know?

    This is not quite the level of ‘what the meaning of is is,’ but Trump could argue he was referring to immediate source of Cohen’s money when this occurred in Nov. 2016.

  16. Jim Haygood

    Kill Deport the poor:

    The Trump administration is ending temporary protected status for more than 50,000 Hondurans who have been allowed to live and work in the United States since 1999, following a hurricane that ravaged their country.

    This week, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen determined that conditions have improved sufficiently in Honduras to warrant suspension of protected status for its citizens in the United States.

    According to the Center for Migration Studies, Hondurans with protected status have 53,500 American-born children; 85 percent participate in the labor force, compared with 63 percent of the overall United States population; and nearly 20 percent have mortgages.

    In January, the Trump administration canceled protection for 200,000 Salvadorans, notifying them to depart by September 2019. Last year, it decided that 45,000 Haitians must leave by July 2019 and 2,500 Nicaraguans must go by January of that year.

    Honduras and El Salvador are two of the most violent, gang-plagued countries on earth. Under the Reagan administration, the US helped make them that way by funding the Contras. By imprisoning violent gang members in the US, then sending them back, it continues recklessly doing so.

    White europhile Trump despises hispanics and brown people. So the ethnic cleansing has begun. Shame about the 53,500 American-born kids whose parents will be either deported or designated as illegals.

    Goodbye to you Juan, goodbye Rosalita
    Adios mis amigos, Jesus and Maria
    You won’t have a name when you ride the big airplane
    All they will call you will be deportee

    — Woody Guthrie, Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos) (1948)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Isn’t it possible for a citizen of the US to apply to the government to bring over the parents?

      For example, an American solider marries a Korean woman. She later becomes a citizen, a permanent resident, and applies to bring over her parents or brothers.

      1. Jim Haygood

        In some cases yes. But deporting them, then working for years through the USCIS bureaucracy to bring them back through family reunification means they lose their jobs, businesses and houses in the interim.

        From a larger perspective, a country which once imagined itself as big-hearted and generous is withdrawing into a fearful, punitive shell, as its militarized bubble economy visibly frays and decays.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          1. I think the finding that conditions in Honduras have improved sufficiently can be challenged in court.

          2. Perhaps banding together and get some permission to stay while the case proceeds is an option.

          3. An ever larger perspective is that there should be reparations to rebuild Honduras to the extend we funded the Contras, so that ultimately, it is a desirable destination for people to want to go to, or to return to.

          1. marym

            What about the people from El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua? Also from JH’s link:

            Two weeks ago, the administration announced 9,000 Nepalis with similar protection must leave.

            We can’t solve this problem one country at a time, because the revocation of protected status has nothing to do with conditions in the countries of origin.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Jim brought up the perspective consideration, and I agree to look at it from various points because it happens all the time (how many years now on this or that problem), and the many countries we have ‘tried to help.’

            2. HotFlash

              So, who are these ‘Nepali’s”, anyway? Many of my Tibetan friends are officially Nepali’s or Indians. Tibetans who fled ended up in Nepal or India and with China currently calling Tibet its own, cannot get Tibetan papers. Link:

              Similarly, many of my Palestinian friends are officially Jordanians and Syrians. One, born in Jerusalem and lived there all his life before coming to Canada, has a Jordanian passport b/c Israel will not give him one. BTW, he has never been to Jordan.

                1. HotFlash

                  Thanks, marym. Many of my friends who self-identify as Tibetan would fall into this category.

      2. marym

        Theoretically, maybe. There are country limits on immigration. There may also be other restrictions on family migration based on circumstances. For example, though it’s not the same situation, and I don’t have links, during some of the DACA discussion, one “compromise” proposal was that if DACA recipients received a path to citizenship they would not be able to sponsor their parents. Of course, there’s also the limitation of one’s family member getting killed before they can be granted immigration visas to return.

        In any case, one of the goals of the white supremacist administration is to limit family migration to spouses and minor children.

        1. c_heale

          The UK has already limited the number of spouses that can come from non-EAA (European economic area) countries. Unless you have over £60,000 or are in a job where you earn of just under £19,000 a year, you can’t bring your spouse to the UK if you are a British Citizen.

      3. David

        The myth of the ‘anchor baby’ deportation defense:

        In order to apply for such an option, the parent of a so-called anchor baby would need to do all of the following.

        – Wait for his or her child to reach the age of 21.
        – Leave the United States.
        – Return to their home country.
        – Have their child begin the lengthy process of applying for a family reunification immigration request.
        -Clear consular interviews and a U.S. State Department background check. (One or both would very likely provide evidence that said parent, at some point, lived in the United States illegally — long enough for that “anchor baby” to be conceived or born. And despite widespread belief to the contrary, there is indeed a penalty for that.)

        As these people lived in the U.S. legally, they would be spared any additional penalties. Also, DHS has given these people until January 2020 to find “alternative lawful immigration status”.

        Funny how people who came to the country under a program called “Temporary Protected Status” came to believe that “temporary” means “permanent”.

        Maybe Congress can provide these people with a path to citizenship. They’ve done wonders for the DACA folks. (/sarc)

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We have people who can’t wait to leave this country, and we have people coming in the opposite direction.

          Should those leaving this country, or wanting to leave, warn those trying to get in?

          “We speak from experience. Don’t come. Surveillance everywhere.”

          For example, some talk about retiring to Mexico. At the same time, people from Mexico are trying to get in here, not just for individual considerations (like reuniting with a family member), but often due to nationwide factors. Are those going to Mexico claiming or possessing some special privileges?

          We have to include here how much we have messed up their home countries.

          1. David

            Are those going to Mexico claiming or possessing some special privileges?

            Yes, they have money. From WaPo,

            It’s estimated that 1 million or so American citizens live in Mexico, many of them retirees who head south of the border to enjoy the warm weather, great food and lower cost of living. These retirees are generally welcomed (they bring with them economic benefits), and Mexico has a visa for such people — the “Residente Temporal” which targets people who do not work in Mexico and are economically self-sufficient.

            The “Residente Temporal” requirements are (as of 2017): 1400 USD in monthly income, or 200K USD property, or 100K USD in investments.

            We have to include here how much we have messed up their home countries.

            OTOH, the US already provides alot to the people of Honduras. From WaPo,

            The figure (the 57,000 Hondurans covered by the DHS order) represents a small fraction of the estimated 1.1 million-plus Hondurans living in the United States, who each year send home remittances totaling some $4.2 billion, or nearly one-sixth of Honduras’ $26 billion gross domestic product.

            That’s $4.2 billion that could be going into the US economy, not to mention the jobs that aren’t available for U.S. citizens. Are these uniquely skilled jobs that only Hondurans can do? Perhaps, but I doubt it.

            1. marym

              Of the people interviewed in JH’s NYT link, one started a business, one went to college and now works as a medical technician, one is a nanny, and one referenced people who helped rebuild in New Orleans after Katrina when “nobody wanted to come.” As far as I know there are no preferential hiring, lending, or college admission programs for people with protected status. It seems unlikely that they “took” anything from anyone else equally willing to do the work.

              Despite the contribution immigrants make to the US economy, and the negative impact of US policies on the economies of some of their countries of origin, it’s tempting to be concerned about money that immigrants send to their families in those countries. Not as tempting as it is to be concerned with corporations and wealthy individuals moving their money offshore, though.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “The ‘nocebo effect’: Is Googling your symptoms making them worse? ”

    This is nothing new, not by a long shot. I have the famous book “Three Men in a Boat” by Jerome K. Jerome which was written back in 1889. He described in one part how he idly flicked through a medical book to look up the treatment for hay fever when he discovered what else was in there. By the symptoms described, he found that he had such conditions as St. Vitus’s Disease, Bright’s disease, Cholera, diphtheria, etc – everything except housemaid’s knee which he was much put out about. Going to his doctor for treatment for his self-diagnosed sicknesses, the doctor gave him a prescription to take to the chemist. This is what it said-

    1 lb beefsteak, with
    1 pt bitter beer very 6 hours
    1 ten-mile walk every morning
    1 bed at 11 sharp every night
    And don’t stuff up your heads with things that you don’t understand.”

    That’s wise advice that. In passing-
    Kittie Wilson – a life well lived. RIP.

    1. Eustache De Saint Pierre

      An always go to book for some cheer – for my last fifty years.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Same here exactly. Some of his other books are great to read as well such as “Three Men on a Bummel” and “Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow”. You can get some of his works digitally at if you want to read them onscreen (To Say Nothing of the Dog)

    2. Roger Bigod

      This is also known as the Sophomore Syndrome. In the traditional medical school curriculum, the second year is a walk through all physical and mental ailments. Given the suggestibility of our species, this results in every funny twinge in the chest calling up the list of possible cardiac emergencies. Misplacing the car keys leads to worries about early dementia, or perhaps merely the onset of viral encephalitis.

      Of course, by the end of the year people are so embarrassed by falling for it that they shrug off any physical symptom, like a classmate who ignored a testicular cancer for a few weeks.

  18. Big River Bandido

    I often like Matt Taibbi’s writing, but he completely lost me here:

    Long before 2016 had a chance to happen, the news media in the United States was effectively destroyed. For those of us in the business, the manner of conquest has been the most galling part. The CliffsNotes version? Facebook ate us.

    Nothing about media consolidation or media cheerleading for neoliberal policies for the last 3-4 decades. It’s all Facebook’s fault.

    And they wonder why people don’t read them anymore.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Jimmy Dore pins the blame on Clinton for changing the media laws and letting the media companies consolidate until there are only a half dozen now in the US. So, if you want to kill or spin a story, it takes only six phone calls now. Remember, this was done before Facebook was made.

    2. ObjectiveFunction

      Valid point but I think Matt T was referring here to FB demolition of the media *business model* (ads, driven by reader/viewer eyeballs and later, click-thrus), rather than the bankrupt credibility of the journos, which he also lambastes elsewhere (We Stopped Listening).

  19. JohnnyGL

    Interesting thought exercise. It’s also a timely reminder that prosecutors have too much power. It’s true at the local level, too. Judge Jed Rakoff has said prosecutors have too much power.

    Michelle Alexander in the New Jim Crow has pointed to the conclusions of sociologists who’ve studied crime and incarceration and concluded that the two have little to with one another. Leaders in society basically pick the amount of incarceration they want and then dispatch law enforcement and prosecutors to find the crime needed to justify and achieve it.

    In this context, think about Snowden’s ‘turn-key tyranny’ where it’s just another tool in the tool kit to ‘get’ whomever the chosen target is. Also, think about the use of ‘parallel construction’ to launder evidence to make it court-worthy.

    I think we’re getting a chance to have a look at how the ‘permanent government’ operates.

    1. Jim Haygood

      One branch of the ‘permanent government’ — the FBI — is in total turmoil this weekend:

      A newly unredacted section of a House Intel Committee report reveals that former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe told Congressional investigators that the FBI had virtually no case against Mike Flynn.

      The same report reveals that James Comey contradicted himself during a recent interview with Bret Baier.

      Comey, McCabe and then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord gave the committee “conflicting testimony.”

      Anti-Trump FBI “lovebird” Lisa Page [with whom agent Peter Strzok was having an affair] has flown the coop, tendering her resignation on Friday.

      One of Comey’s closest confidants, former FBI top lawyer James A. Baker, also resigned Friday.

      Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist notes that Page and Baker quit as a highly anticipated report by the DOJ’s Inspector General is “looming,” suggesting that the report will reveal violations of the law egregious enough to call for both of them to hand in their resignations on the same day.

      The Comey McCabe-era FBI makes the legendary Augean stables look like a sterile operating theater. What a clarty nest of vipers and conspirators. Lock them up.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        What did McCabe think, in private, about the FBI’s case, or Mueller’s case, against Manafort?

        Virtually no case as well?

        1. Jim Haygood

          McCabe’s opinion (if any) is irrelevant now, compared to the brutal tongue-lashing delivered by Judge Ellis to Mueller’s minions.

          U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III told Mueller’s team on Friday that they “don’t really care” about Manafort and accused them of being more interested in information leading to a possible impeachment of Trump.

          Now Mueller has two weeks to deliver the redacted “scope of work” memo for the special prosecutor’s office, or explain why not. Rod Rosenstein’s Aug 2, 2017 memo to Mueller, totaling about 2-1/4 pages, is about half blacked out:

          What’s up with that? As we used to say back in the Nixon administration, let the sun shine in [and the chips fall where they may].

  20. Samuel Conner

    re: kill me now/Guardian Jennifer P interview:

    Perhaps this is a new business model — elicit voluntary intelligent commentary from readers, and draw other readers to the site to read the commentary rather than the main articles. Provided that the main articles are sufficiently poorly done, there may be loads of useful comments, all property of G and all obtained at no or nearly no marginal cost!

    A new form of click-bait? “This article is so boneheaded — you simply must read the comments on it!”


    I’m sure I’m not the first to have thought of this; just haven’t previously noticed it.

    1. Carey

      I think you’re on to something, and have had similar thoughts. Or, they’re just trolling us constantly now.

      1. Samuel Conner

        I wonder whether there might be a connection (indirect, sort of a hint of a trend in management philosophy) with the TSB software migration fiasco. It has been suggested that TSB was, in effect, relying on its customers to alpha-test the new software.

        Perhaps Guardian is relying on its readers for fact-checking and editorial feedback. The Guardian online product is no longer the above-the-line text, but that plus the comments.

        Sort of a form of crowd-sourcing.

        I’m a huge fan of volunteer-expert collaborative software, such as freeware Linux distros and the LibreOffice suite.

        Maybe (tongue-in-cheek, but not entirely) something like this will emerge in other areas.

        1. Oregoncharles

          ” TSB was, in effect, relying on its customers to alpha-test the new software.”
          Microsoft has been accused of this for decades – in particular, by a friend who ran an ISP and should know.

    2. Musicismath

      Most of the Guardian’s best writers are below the line. That surely can’t have escaped notice at the editorial level.

  21. Susan the other

    Thanks for “Trotskyist Delusions”, Consortium News. For anyone who is a Diana Johnstone fan. She stakes out a position whose time has come: that socialist (Trotskyist) revolutions are perhaps too romantic. In that nobody knows if Trotsky had become the leader of the Soviet Union, would he have maintained a better society? Probably not. Not that Stalin was Mr. Goodness. But an interesting fact is missing from this piece, and almost missing from history. (I found it here in one of Hudson’s accounts.) That Stalin and FDR c. 1942 came to an agreement that the US would supply Russia with materiel to defeat the coming Nazi onslaught and, in turn, Stalin would dismantle the Comintern. Both things happened. We gave Russia tanks and planes and guns and boots and food and Russia proclaimed “socialism in one country” (i.e. no more permanent revolution) and had Trotsky axed in Mexico. And followed up with various political pogroms. So permanent revolution was a headless movement that ran around in circles looking for a cause, basically. While the West kept its powder dry, and when the USSR finally failed, triumphantly imposed neoliberalism on the world. We all know how that ended. But back to Johnstone’s point that the Trotskyists create their own justification based on layers of subjective doctrine. Yes they do. And her more pointed point, that they thereby create an alibi for neoliberal wars. Yes they do. A good article. And she has written a book on Hillary, the “queen of chaos”, which I hadn’t heard of (2016). I’m sure it’s a great read too. Thanks for the link.

    1. hemeantwell

      Please note that she is criticizing some Trotskyists, not all. As far as Syria goes, it’s difficult to admit that a legitimate revolutionary movement was hijacked and that resistance to Assad needs to demilitarize. In the process some people in the resistance to Assad with thoroughly acceptable politics will be abandoned, at least in as much as, for various reasons, they cannot stop fighting. Even though necessary, it stinks of betrayal. I think this sets up some strategic knuckle-headedness.

      I very much doubt that Trotsky would have engaged in purges and the ensemble of foul machinations, including assassinations, that were part of the run-up to them. Although he was an advocate of rapid industrialization, I don’t believe that he would have been prepared to carry out the “revolution from above” that Stalin imposed in ’29 that was directed at destroying NEP and maximizing surplus extraction from the peasantry. Though an opponent of Bukharin, Trotsky continued to respectfully argue with him.

      Permanent revolution was based on the idea that capitalists would never accept an independent socialist society. This seems accurate to me. There was also the idea, accepted by all of the Bolsheviks and left-Mensheviks, I believe, that the backwardness of Russia required an alliance with a revolution in the developed West, Germany being the obvious candidate. In the immediate post WWI period this is what gave the concept plausibility. Since then the maximalizing tendency Johnstone criticizes deserves it. But we shouldn’t lose track of the fact that Trotsky advocated an anti-fascist alliance with the Social Democrats in Germany, while Stalin maximally pushed for branding them as social fascists.

      1. Plenue

        As one of these new fangled ‘millenials’, my inclination is very much to just take the entire legacy of Lenin (and Mao) and flush it down the drain.

        I look at the record and see regimes that claimed a total dominance of power, claiming to be in possession of The Truth™, and ruthlessly crushed all dissent. I see gulags and army purges and millions of starved corpses (up to 60 million under Mao). And I see a hundred years of infighting, schisms, blaming, and excuse making.

        I’m sure there were good parts too, and context is important, but in the end what does it matter? What’s the point of continuing the debate for another hundred years?

        I wouldn’t trust a Bolshevik, of any flavor, to run a lemonade stand.

    2. Matt

      “That Stalin and FDR c. 1942 came to an agreement that the US would supply Russia with materiel to defeat the coming Nazi onslaught and, in turn, Stalin would dismantle the Comintern. Both things happened. We gave Russia tanks and planes and guns and boots and food and Russia proclaimed “socialism in one country” (i.e. no more permanent revolution) and had Trotsky axed in Mexico. And followed up with various political pogroms.”

      This timeline is all jumbled up. “Socialism in one country,” Lend-Lease, and Trotsky’s assassination came at very different times. And I’m not sure what political pogroms you are referring to, but the most lethal ones that repressed supposed “Trotskyists” came several years before his assassination.

    3. Eustache De Saint Pierre

      Tony Blair was once a Trotskyite, as were many Neoconservatives – perhaps the labels change but the psychology stays much the same.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Consider the ages of the men you’ve mentioned, and politics and society in the West c. 1975:

        All are about 55-65, born after Trotsky had died. “Trotskyism” was a trendy, non-committal way for them to alarm their parents when they were young. Not much more. None of them ever went to prison for smoking cannabis either.

      2. HotFlash

        the labels change but the psychology stays much the same

        I think you are quite right. I remember as a young person being struck by the story of the conversion of Saul to Paul the Apostle — different target, but same tactics.

        1. Plenue

          Just want to point out that there was no such name conversion. It doesn’t happen in the Bible. Saul (Shaul) was his Jewish name, Paul (Paulos) his Greek name. He used the two simultaneously, switching based on audience.

    4. Olga

      Good points. I’d just add that when (obligatory) condemning Stalin, the clever folk never do in the context of west’s self-proclaimed effort to destroy the new socialist republic at any cost. (Stalin was well aware of the British elite’s view on this, the rising Nazi power, plus US did not even have diplomatic relations with USSR until 1933).
      It may be a good question on what would happen if Stalin did not win against Trotsky. Who knows… In spite of all the (knee-jerk) demonisation of Stalin, he was a pragmatist.
      The other point is that it is a loss for us that we do not know exactly what Stalin and Roosevelt had agreed on… Someone needs to scour Soviet archives – maybe they contain some information…

    5. Andrew Watts

      The Syrian Civil War is pretty divisive and has divided the radical left wing. There were some people who support Assad, are against him, pro-YPG/SDF, or do not favor any side of the conflict. The Trotskyists were always anti-Assad and supportive of the Free Syrian Army. There was even an active FSA brigade of Trotskyists whose name I forgot and who disappeared a long time ago. The notion that a few dozen rebels whose ideological bent towards Trotskyism were ever going to make an impact compared to the Islamist rebels and then somehow convert them to Marxist revolution was laughable.

      Their critique of Assad’s government and it’s neoliberal regime aren’t without merit though. The privatizations in Syria enriched many insiders close to the government. It’s a familiar replay of what happened in Russia during the 90s under Yeltsin, Nor are they wrong about the brutality of the Syrian government which makes Johnstone’s defense of Assad’s police apparatus pretty disturbing. Is she unaware that the US shipped off members of Al Qaeda to Syria to be tortured? What about the hostile sectarian relationship between the government and it’s supporters and the Syrian Kurds which includes the Qamishli riots in 2004?

      People like Johnstone are blind to the imperialism of other countries which is why so much of her article involves the US/Israeli relationship and not any of the other participants in the war. Their analytic process turns war into a team sport where they cheer on the anti-American side while denying agency to the people that are either fighting or simply trying to survive the conflict. The Trotskyist intellectuals aren’t much better treating the Syrian rebel / jihadists as mere supporting actors in their false vision of a Marxist revolution. Nor do either of them earn merit by labeling the SDF/YPG and it’s supporters as Stalinists or puppets of American imperialism.

      1. Jim

        I highly recommend
        this piece
        by Jim Kavanagh (The Polemicist) to all those following the discussion on Diane Johnstone’s article. It’s from a year ago, but the issues have not changed in the least.

        He has a more recent piece, well worth reading, as well
        I wish he wrote more often: his work is well-written, and quite thoughtful.

        I was a member, back in the ’70’s and early 80’s, of the best known Trotskyist organization in the United States. The positions espoused by those Diana Johnstone holds up as representative of Trotskyism, are diametrically opposed to those we held back then, and would hold today. The groups/people she cites (Louis Proyect is the worst example: in a recent article in CounterPunch he listed Atlantic Council/NATO mouthpiece Bellingcat as one of his preferred sources of accurate information on Syria) are supporting the US/UK/French/Israeli/Saudi assault as if their overthrow of the Syrian government would somehow open the way to a leftist revolution. The two articles linked here do a very good job, I think, of countering that argument.

        1. Plenue

          Proyect comes across as a kind of vulgar Marxist; utterly unable to see the Syrian conflict as anything other than a people’s uprising. His response to anyone pointing out that every major faction in the ‘opposition’ is some flavor of foreign backed jihadi headchopper is to immediately cry that it’s Islamophobia, smearing all Muslims as nutjobs.

          Uh, last time I checked the majority of Syrians, the people whose country I want to stop being destroyed, are Muslim. I can literally name names of the specific ‘rebel’ factions, their ideologies, their backers. Groups like Jaysh al-Islam are not good or noble people, period, full stop.

  22. dcblogger

    Perhaps the Republican party SHOULD try to understand the 65 million people who voted for Hillary Clinton as they are about to get crushed by them. People who merely voted for HRC are now activists, making phone calls, knocking on doors, and in many cases, running to for office. Clinton received a majority of the votes. This is not some technicality, but of the utmost political importance. There is no electoral college for Senator, Governor, H of R or any other office. You have to actually win the majority of votes, and this year the Republicans are going down in flames.

    1. Matt

      While I understand what you’re saying, Clinton received 48.18% of the vote, which is not a majority.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Yes, it seems rather likely that the D party will reclaim control of the House at least.

      In our impoverished polity in which an entrenched duopoly has exercised iron rule for over 150 years, even the tiny crack of light resulting from a change from Tweedledum to Tweedledee produces an outsized wave of euphoria among Americans inured to a petrified, unresponsive-by-design political system.

      Though my working assumption is that Bubble III died on Jan 26, 2018 — a victim of Republican flake-o-nomics — its last chance to return for a brief swan song would rely on anticipation of a Democratic sweep in November. As an example, the Dow Jones Industrials soared 44% in 1954, as Democrats retook the House. But history offers a cautionary note for ‘Russia Russia Russia’ Democrats:

      ‘Perhaps the major reason for the Republican defeat was the fallout from the Army-McCarthy Hearings, in which prominent Republican Senator Joe McCarthy accused countless political and intellectual figures of having Communist ties, usually with no evidence.’,_1954

      Americans care about gas prices busting their budget, not far-fetched tales about Russian hackers lurking under our beds.

      1. dcblogger

        This Tuesday will see primaries in NC, Ohio, West Virginia and other states which will give us a measurable indication of the future direction of the Democratic party.

        HRC received 3 million more votes than Trump, this is not a technicality, but a matter of great significance.

        Much more than control of the H of R and Senate is on the ballot in 2018. Governors are up for election, and a majority of Democratic governors will put the control of electoral machinery in control of Democratic hands. If those Democrats are built along the lines of Cynthia Nixon this will have the greatest possible implications for 2020. Also, we will see a shift in control of state legislatures. Also Mayors and city councils. The Republicans are going to get crushed, putting redistricting into the hands of Democrats.

        1. Jim Haygood

          All true. But HRC is the high priestess of ‘Russia, Russia, Russia,’ still rabbiting on about it to this day. It’s tiresome, it’s boring; it does nothing for interesting and fresh Democratic candidates like Cynthia Nixon.

          Reportedly Republicans plan to use the rapidly-disintegrating Mueller inquiry as a campaign issue. While the facts are far from in, in the worst case there may have been an active conspiracy — potentially extending into the oval office of Barack Obama — to quash charges against HRC while manufacturing charges against Trump and his staffers by any means necessary.

          This potentially massive scandal does not need to hurt the prospects of this year’s crop of Democratic candidates, as long as they distance themselves from the excesses of the Obama administration and keep their campaigns rigorously Clinton-free.

        2. QuarterBack

          Remember however that the 3M voter HRC majority is less than her majority in the single state of CA, so another way of framing the voting results is to say that a majority of U.S. voters everywhere except CA chose Trump.

          I admit that I missed the significance of the HRC “Deplotables “ comment until I saw the district by district voter totals. It was basically a sea of red with clusters of blue in big cities. This trend was stunningly consistent from ‘sea to shining sea’. Even in the states where HRC won, outside the cities, the election was not even close. This distribution is about something much larger than the two candidates. Elections have evolved to focus on gaining majorities by swaying the key city electorates and ignoring all others (campaign efficiency).

          The political (or should I say campaign) process exploits and promotes dangerous divisions across our citizenry. Ignoring these uneven distributions risk potential collapse of the entire political system – seemingly from nowhere.

          1. dcblogger

            did you miss what happened in Virginia in 2017? places Democrats had not won since 1964 were won.

            1. Plenue

              After losing, how many blue states was it again? And losing, what, four, five, runoff elections? Hey, you did manage to barely win against a literal child rapist! That’s something.

              The Dems have exactly nothing. They’re running on absolutely nothing other than “we’re not Republicans”. By all means, never interrupt your opponent when they’re making a mistake. But you can’t rely on that as your entire strategy either.

              For the sake of argument, let’s say the Dems clean house in 2018 and even 2020. What changes? Does the empire stop? Do we get single payer? A debt jubilee? Jobs guarantee?

              Watch as nothing significant changes. The underlying rot remains and continues to fester. Then watch as once again the Dems get their asses kicked high and low, because they had power and did nothing with it. Then watch as the GOP runs another economic populist. Only this time it isn’t a clown like Trump.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To understand or not to understand.

      I’m done with trying to understand Trump supporters. Why don’t they try to understand me?” McClatchy . UserFriendly: “​This is why Democrats will lose forever.​”

      The D’s may (I don’t mean must, but may) want to understand (some) Trump supporters in order that they will go back to the D party.

      If the Republicans wanted to, or needed Hillary’s supporters, they should, or they would do well to understand the latter.

      We should all try to understand each other.

      In practice, we only do so in order to gain something.

      Here, the D’s are the ones wishing to gain that something. The Republicans currently have what they want (though it might not last long, but why should anyone give them advice or help).

      1. Mel

        Ian Welsh said, a long time ago,

        The job of a political party is either to get a few specific people into power, or it is to offer a clear option to the voters.

        If the party were promoting policies for the way the nation might operate in the coming years, then it would be necessary to get the voters to understand the party. (Which might involve understanding why the voters didn’t understand the party.)
        If it’s just a question of hoodwinking them into handing over their votes, then understanding them, figuring out their mechanisms, will be required.

      2. The Rev Kev

        That story was the pits. It was all pearl-clutching and fainting couches. Worse, it is special case pleading. So where has all this ‘trying to understand Trump voters’ been done? Nothing has changed since Clinton called them all deplorables and that was before the election. And as far as his claim that ‘the rest of us have the moral high ground here’? To quote a famous line from this author – ‘Cry me a river!’

      3. Lambert Strether

        > I’m done trying to understand Trump supporters. Why don’t they try to understand me?

        The “I’m done with ____” or “I’m done” or “We’re done here” is a verbal formulation very popular in #Resistance circles on the Twitter. (The idea seems to be that the speaker has reached a level of exasperation so great that some sort of performative gesture is called for.) What fascinates me is the formulation assumes a level of social dominance on the part of #Resistance people that they do not, in fact, have, or rather, have lost. For example, the obvious riposte is “We’re done when I say we’re done.” (It’s occurred to me that one reason the Clintonite 10% has been unable to get past the 2016 results is that it was not only a personal blow, but a rejection of the right of their class to rule or, in their terms, control “the conversation”).

        Adding, the article is worthless, since it assumes that Trump voters are monolithic. It’s also worthless, because it’s a watered down version of the Democrat idea that demographics are the deus ex machina. Pitts used to be smarter than this…

    4. lyman alpha blob

      Are the Republicans going down in flames, or is the Democrat party turning into Republicans? Because they sure do seem to be recruiting a lot of right wingers while keeping their boots on the necks of anyone from the actual left who tries to get in on the action.

      So what difference does it ultimately make to the other 99% of us who wins if we get a right wing, neoliberal government regardless? Which is not probably, but definitely why a plurality of people vote for none of the above and stay home every single election. As other have noted, Clinton did not get a majority of the votes, and once you add in all those who didn’t vote at all, it’s pretty clear that neither she nor her party are very popular.

      A legitimate 3rd choice on the ballot and both parties will get crushed.

      Bring on the ranked choice voting.

      1. dcblogger

        that is why the primaries are so crucial. Depending upon who wins the primaries the Democrats will return to their FDR roots or become the new autocracy and Republicans will disintegrate into a lunatic fringe party and the Greens, Working Families or someone else will become the party of the left. Which is why it is so critical to vote 3rd party in cases where the Democratic nominee so unacceptable, NOW is the time to build an alternative.

        1. Eureka Springs

          Interesting, aside from the fact there wont be an R majority, that you have not mentioned one concrete change if the D’s take the House, Senate or both.

          As I said earlier this week they, the duopoly, are all liars thieves and war mongers. None of what you ever say comes close to convincing otherwise. Not even in the form of a minuscule ripple, much more a wave. FDR didn’t work out. Dems saved capitalism of that time. We can neither go back to that, nor should we save the FIRE/MIC capitalism of this time. There is no rule of law among the top and economic disparity is at it’s worst. CO2 is well over 400 and the global population is billions more. Neither party is at all interested in fighting based on fact, in a democratic manner or with more than a few quarters balance sheet con or election cycle worth of forethought.

          You and I have watched and participated on the same blogs long enough that we should know better. Dems will not change their ways. If anything after the biggest wave this time and we will still be worse off than post ’06 wave. It will be Russia this time rather than steroid use in major league baseball.

          And you insist people consider the “majority” vote while you ignore the super plurality who wouldn’t vote for any of them.

          The system is fubar and here you promote that which got us here. Please reconsider.

  23. bean counter

    Someone needs to inform Matt Taibbi that the Facebook IPO was not in March of 2013. it’s a serious distraction to the piece, particularly since he references events as related to that IPO date. Facebook filed for the IPO on February 1st 2012 (which he did get right), held an initial public offering on March 17th 2012 and began public trading on NASDAQ on March 18th 2012. He made the mistake no less than three times:

    1. As late as 2013, just before Facebook went public, executives tried to convince Zuckerberg to own his company’s basic nature and push the firm past a crucial ethical and financial Rubicon. ….

    2. In any case, on May 18th, 2013, the company held its IPO, and launched with a market capitalization of $104 billion. ….

    3. A little over a year after the IPO, on June 12th, 2014, Facebook quietly announced a change to its terms of service. ….

    I was going to call Rolling Stone and leave a message, but they don’t note a phone number anywhere and I’ve made a habit of not engaging with media companies who offer no phone number.

  24. Kris

    U.S. manufacturing really did get hammered by globalization – not automation per the received consensus.

    The epic mistake about manufacturing that’s cost Americans millions of jobs

    All of the apparent “health” of U.S manufacturing is an artifact of the way economists measure manufacturing output: if a product’s apparent value increases due to technology improvements over last year’s model, it is counted as having sold multiples of the previous model. Thus, if one removes this “growth” – almost completely in the technology/computer sector – manufacturing output actually fell by a third from 2000-2010, losing 6 millions Americans their jobs. (Badly edited article btw – be forewarned)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We know to be the global reserve currency issuer, you have to run CA deficits.

      It’s possible you have a CA deficit while with a trade surplus, in any giver period (a day, a month, a year, a decade, etc).

      But most likely you have trade deficits…year in, year out.

      We can also ask questions like

      1. Does it have to be trade deficit every minute, every day, or say, every year? Maybe we can have surpluses for 3 days before going back, or 3 years.

      2. Is it possible to incur trade deficits slowly, and in moderate amounts, that domestic manufacturing has time to adjust? Perhaps too much importing, over a short time, can shock our industries.

      3. So, we can ask, how much trade deficits do we need to run, in order to be the global reserve currency issuer? Is that related to the amount of international trade? A percentage or a multiple of it? Or is it we have to run unlimited trade deficits, every minute, every day, every month, every year?

      4. Who knows? Maybe we have overshot in 2017, and this year, we need to have a trade surplus. I mean, right now, it’s just ‘we must run trade deficits.’ It seems to be kind of fuzzy.

      1. cnchal

        > It seems to be kind of fuzzy.

        How long has the US been running a trade deficit? Forty years or so?

        What we have here is an economist that has been studying manufacturing concluding that the rest of the economists that have been saying “move along, nothing to see here” are totally wrong.

        By the way, which Chinese leader said “it’s glorious to be rich” and when did he say it? The peasants were then sacrificed to make the elite gloriously rich, there and here.

        Good find Kris. Thanks.

        1. skippy

          Reserve currency vs. Bancor acerbated by equity metrics attached to market fashion.

  25. Oregoncharles

    “Massive sinkhole in New Zealand exposes earth from 60,000 years ago”

    There must be a lava tube in the bottom that broke through – huge amounts of water were going down it without filling it. That would be why they asked a volcanologist about it. Local geologists will be pretty thrilled about that cross-section of the local deposits, but it’s a pain for the farm; they have to reroute their road and fence the thing off to keep the cows out of it. And I think I see a pipe hanging in the air.

    I wonder where all that soil ended up? Out to sea, perhaps?

    1. Conrad

      It’s a fair way to the sea from Rotorua, but I guess everything gets there eventually. The farm’s in the middle of the Volcanic Plateau so as the scientist said it’s ultimately of volcanic origin.

  26. Anon

    > The nation’s largest publicly-traded hospital chain said in January that it would invest much of its windfall from a U.S. tax overhaul to offer tuition reimbursement, student loan repayment and extra family leave to all of its employees in the next three years.

    What? Invest its tax windfall into employee benefits? Those expenses are (and were) tax-deductible anyway, so what exactly does the tax cut have to do with this?

  27. Oregoncharles

    From the article on the French May Day: “Obviously with a view to preparing the deregulation of the [railroad] sector that is required by EU, by the EU.”

    An example of the reasons Corbyn is very mixed on EU membership.

  28. Amfortas the Hippie

    The Medium article about the Zombie Apokalypse:
    I’m a Doomer…based on a more intuitive version of Mr Campbell’s formula….as well as the Great Depression being a leitmotif of conversation at family picnics and such growing up, which amount to the same general thing.
    living in the country with those folks and their tales probably influenced this, too.(+-20 min EMT/Fire. more and longer power outages. dirt roads impassible. etc)
    “Food(which includes subsistence ag), water, shelter(which includes defensibility)”…feels pretty natural and boring,lol.
    Heck, my grandma’s both went to their graves washing out ziplocs.
    Neither I, or any of my folks, have been Right Wingers…nor particularly anti-gov(FDR Democrats/ distrustful of foreign policy- I alone harbor extreme distrust of the non-social welfare parts of government)
    The Righties who have become most associated with this mode of existence have done the rest of us a disservice and confused the reasonableness of being able to take care of one’s own with flatearthism and belligerent, if often incoherent, posturing.

  29. Filiform Radical

    I’ve seen the “Understand Trump voters? You want us to find common ground with RACISTS?!” reaction before. It’s sort of interesting because it objects to the idea of understanding their motivations while also being implicitly predicated on the idea that the speaker already does.

  30. Andrew Watts

    RE: Trump Orders Pentagon to Consider Reducing U.S. Forces in South Korea

    Yawn. It’s been boring watching American Pravda indulge in their masturbatory fantasies of a nuclear war. Maybe they’ll even start catching up with foreign media. From the beginning of the Peace Olympics the Chinese and Japanese media were openly worrying about being left out of any political agreements that would affect Korea. Meanwhile, the real diplomatic action was probably going on behind the scenes.

    I don’t think there will be a complete withdrawal of American troops any time soon, but I imagine there will be a slow reduction down to a token military mission to preserve the alliance between the US and Korea while re-assuring the Japanese that their geopolitical interests are being considered. The Chinese will more than likely be happy with the departure of the bulk of American troops from the Korean peninsula.

    …and let’s be honest >30,000 US soldiers and their dependents are hostages in any war scenario.

  31. The Rev Kev

    “Boycott China and avoid a trade war ”

    Sigh. Yeah, that should totally work. Do a boycott and China will cry uncle and bend to western demands – or not. The guy who wrote it is a Professor of Economics but it may have been better if he had been a Professor of History. Remember a coupla years ago when Crimea went home to Russia after the Ukrainian Putzsche? Massive sanctions were organized against Russia coinciding with an attack on oil revenues and the ruble. So what happened? Russia organized massive sanctions against the west which cost it a hundred billion dollars to the shock of the west. In fact Russia went all out to make itself an autarky which has for the better part succeeded. Russia is now a massive exporter of wheat alone.
    You know what will happen if the west boycotts China with luxury cars as suggested by the good professor? They will turn around and buy luxury cars from other countries such a Russia or they will do without. They are a very patriotic people and will resist as we ourselves would resist such a boycott. If western companies try to boycott China then those very same companies will not win but can kiss all business in that country goodbye for the next generation or two. Probably, for luxury cars alone, the Chinese will simply build their own which they will do in any case sooner or later. They are already spending big to make themselves the world leader in high tech which the US is demanding that they stop. Call this whole idea of boycotting China as a fantasy by someone who should know better.

  32. Expat2uruguay

    This is a very short article.

    In 2005, Uruguay created a fund for the administration of property seized from drug trafficking and money laundering activities. These funds are used to finance drug use prevention, treatment and rehabilitation programs, and to strengthen law enforcement and drug interdiction institutions, according to the JDN.
    It’s my understanding that people who are caught using drugs, as opposed to trafficking in them, are treated instead of criminalized in Uruguay.

  33. Expat2uruguay

    Oops, I guess I was wrong about them not Prosecuting low-level drug offenders.
    Here is an article about the crime in Uruguay and in the second to last paragraph there’s a link to an older article that contains this sentence:

    However, while the government has previously released directives instructing the police and judiciary to focus on targeting large-scale drug traffickers, in practice, the security forces still tend to focus on low-level offenders, according to the Transnational Institute’s Drug Law Reform Project

    Also in that linked article it talks about how Uruguay is wanting to focus on the financial side of drug trafficking. Very recently they changed the laws so that all purchases of property or other large dollar items have to be bank-to-bank, no cash purchases.
    Anyway, here’s an overview of crime in Uruguay: (wow, Uruguay has almost three times as many police officers as it does prisoners in jail!)
    Uruguay has 809 officers per hundred thousand people and the largest cities in the United States have 243 per hundred thousand.

    Uruguay has 291 prisoners per 100,000 people people, and the United States has 666 per 100,000 people.
    Here’s my favorite story to tell about the police in Uruguay. Late one night I was coming home from dancing in the wee hours of the morning and I was taking the bus. Everything was pretty quiet until two police officers got on the bus. I sat there an alarm, thinking what the hell is going on?! Everything remained pretty quiet though, the police officers were just riding the bus! In uniform. This would absolutely never never never happen in California.

    My whole reason for doing all this reading tonight was an article about how prevalent murders are in Latin America. Definitely not good.
    … and a good Roundup of country specific information for 2017 four countries in Latin America:

  34. Pespi

    Even if you don’t pay for some extremely dubious DNA test, they probably have a reasonably close relative via military and other government agencies sampling of their personnel. You might be able to keep fingerprints to yourself, but life is not a detective show and police mostly don’t care.

  35. Oregoncharles

    “Russian Troll Farm Goes After Mueller’s Files”

    Discovery – just what some of us predicted. I think we’d all like the answers to some of those questions.

  36. Lambert Strether

    > Minnesota experiment upends notions about how plants will offset rising CO2

    This is a very important article. Soil and climate mavens take note:

    Only one factor rose and fell with growth rates, and that was the amount of nitrogen mineralization taking place in the plots. In this process, soil microbes processing dead plant matter, or dead microbes, increase the soil’s content of nitrogen available as a nutrient. Obviously, plant growth rises and falls with nutrient supply; but the mineralization rate itself seems to be driven by a plant/soil feedback interaction that remains murky.

    1. johnnygl

      I saw that one. Plants like to grow on dead plants. A reminder to all those outside doing ‘spring cleaning’ this weekend.

      I really need to get some woodchip mulch.

    2. Steve H.

      We had the trees in the backyard cut down for liability purpose, but rather than hauling them away, we’re turning them into dirt.

      Myccorhizal fungi turn the wood into mouth-watering soil, and my assumption is that this is a key factor in increasing soil nitrogen. The process of composting burns off 90% of the carbon into CO2 and chews up nitrogen. Hugelkultur seems to incorporate far more material into the soil. That we don’t know much isn’t surprising, glomalin wasn’t even identified until 1996.

      1. johnnygl

        Good stuff. I’ve never had the time or dedication to dig a big enough hole to bury big branches.

        In my current situation, i really need the mulch so i’m inclined to turn what i can into wood chips. Plus, they break down faster.

        1. Steve H.

          I’m laying trunks & limbs parallel on each other, and got a little chipper for the stuff under an inch. (Chipper sez it goes to 1.5 inches, but not so much.) It’s starting to looks landscaped enough to avoid fines from the city.

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